Bengaluru: English all-rounder Ben Stokes and pacer Tymal Mills emerged the hottest buys in the morning session of the Indian Premier League (IPL) auction, which saw as many as 33 players being bought by franchises while many big names missed out pick-up.
Rising Pune Supergiants (RPSG), who removed Mahendra Singh Dhoni from captaincy on Sunday, bought Stokes for a whopping Rs 14.50 crore after defeating bids from Mumbai Indians (MI), Delhi Daredevils (DD), Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) and Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH).
“This is a conscious strategy, we wanted an all-rounder on the team,” RPSG owner Sanjeev Goenka said.
Promising pacer Mills also emerged another hot property, with the RCB finally managing to lay their hands on him for a whopping Rs 12 crore.
Interestingly, Stokes’ limited-overs captain Eoin Morgan was taken at a base price of Rs 2 crore by Kings XI Punjab while all-rounder Chris Woakes was bought by Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) for Rs 4 crore.
But the surprise of the morning was 18-year-old leg-spinner Rashid Khan and all-rounder Mohammed Nabi being bought by defending champions SRH, making them the first Afghanistan cricketers to be bought by an IPL franchise.
While Rashid was bought for a whopping Rs 4 crore, Nabi went for Rs 30 lakh. Afghanistan captain Asghar Stanikzai, however, joined the likes of India’s Ishant Sharma, Cheteshwar Pujara, Pragyan Ozha, South African Imran Tahir, West Indians Darren Bravo and Marlon Samuels, to remain unsold.
Among others, Delhi Daredevils won a competitive bidding war with Kings XI Punjab, to invest Rs 5 crore in South African pacer Kasigo Rabada while New Zealand fast bowler Trent Boult also was picked up for Rs 5 crore by KKR. Mumbai Indians bought retired Australian pacer Mitchell Johnson for Rs 2 crore.
Australian pacer Pat Cummins was also bought by the Delhi Daredevils for a whopping Rs 4.5 crore along with Tamil Nadu spinner M. Ashwin for Rs 1 crore. Sri Lanka skipper Angelo Matthews also went to Delhi Daredevils for Rs 2 crore along with New Zealand all-rounder Corey Anderson for Rs 1 crore.
West Indian stumper Nicholas Pooran was taken by Mumbai Indians for Rs 30 lakh.
Among the uncapped domestic players, Tamil Nadu left-arm pacer T. Natarajan emerged one of the biggest gainers — he was sold for Rs 3 crore to Kings XI Punjab, which is 30 times his base price of Rs 10 lakh.
Rookie Karnataka spinner Krishnappa Gowtham and Rajasthan medium pacer Aniket Choudhary were sold for 20 times their base price of Rs 10 lakh. While Gowtham was bought by the Mumbai Indians, Choudhary went to RCB for Rs 2 crore.
Railways leggie Karn Sharma was bought by the Mumbai Indians for a whopping Rs 3.2 crore while Jharkhand pacer Varun Aaron went to the KXIP for Rs 2.8 crore.
Kerala medium pacer Basil Thampy went to Gujarat Lions for Rs 85 lakh after Rising Pune Supergiants left the bid. His base price was at Rs 10 lakh. The Gujarat franchise also ropped in Rajasthan pacer Nathu Singh for Rs 50 lakh.
Uttar Pradesh wicketkeeper Eklavya Dwivedi and veteran Mumbai leggie Pravin Tambe went to Sunrisers Hyderabad for Rs 75 lakh and Rs 10 lakh respectively, while Haryana southpaw Rahul Tewatia was sold to Kings XI Punjab for Rs 25 lakh.
Mumbai stumper-batsman Aditya Tare and Maharashtra middle order batsman Ankeet Bawane were bought by Delhi Daredevils for Rs 25 lakh and Rs 10 lakh respectively.
All-rounder Pawan Negi, who rose to fame for being the costliest domestic player last season at Rs 8.5 crore, was bought by RCB for a mere Rs 1 crore, thanks to his disastrous campaign for DD in 2016.
Meanwhile, Indian Test stars Ishant and Pujara joined some of the big names who went unsold in the morning session.
Among the notables are India’s Unmukt Chand, Pragyan Ojha, Manvinder Bisla, Parvez Rasool and Abu Nechim Ahmed, Sri Lanka’s Dinesh Chandimal, Kusal Perara, Aussies Nathan Coulter Nile, Brad Hodge, South Africans Tahir and Kyle Abbot, Kiwis Martin Guptill, Ross Taylor and Ish Sodhi, West Indians Samuels, Bravo, Jason Holder and Johnson Charles.